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The AP Interview: Pope says homosexuality not a crime
Author: NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

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Abortion rights supporters rally outside Washington Capitol
Author: Jadenne Radoc Cabahug, The Seattle Times

OLYMPIA — Alicia Hupprich stood outside the state Capitol on Tuesday alongside over 70 other abortion rights advocates, wearing pink and holding signs to protect a woman’s right to choose.

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California Republican hopes to oust the GOP’s national leader
Author: Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

Mounting frustration over GOP electoral losses has incited a contentious leadership battle that pits a prominent California Republican against the party’s national leader.

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Prosecutors to Congress: Let state prisons jam cellphones
Author: MEG KINNARD, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Top state prosecutors from across the country are again urging Congress to pass legislation allowing state prisons to jam the signals of cellphones smuggled to inmates, devices the attorneys argue allow prisoners to plot violence and carry out crimes.

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‘Always smiling’: Man who managed ballroom among those slain
Author: TERRY TANG, DEEPA BHARATH and JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — For those who made their way to the Star Ballroom over the years, Ming Wei Ma was a bright light, always smiling and encouraging those who came to the Los Angeles area dance hall popular with older Asian Americans.

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Leaders are meant to keep state secrets. Just not at home.
Author: CALVIN WOODWARD and CHRIS MEGERIAN, CALVIN WOODWARD and CHRIS MEGERIAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats responded with aggrieved fury when former President Donald Trump was found in possession of classified documents that should have been turned over to the government when he left office. Then disclosures that President Joe Biden also mishandled secret papers set loose a Republican “well, what about” roar.

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European court rules Ukraine cases against Russia admissible
Author: MIKE CORDER, Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Europe’s top human rights court ruled Wednesday that it can adjudicate on cases brought by the Netherlands and Ukraine against Russia for alleged rights violations in eastern Ukraine in 2014, including the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

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In Romania, French battlegroup holds NATO combat exercise
Author: VADIM GHIRDA, Associated Press

SMARDAN, Romania (AP) — Around 600 French soldiers deployed as part of a NATO battlegroup in Romania held a combat exercise on Wednesday to test the 30-nation military alliance’s readiness on its eastern flank, amid Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine.

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GOP bill to protect speech on social media may gag officials
Author: Sean Michael Newhouse, CQ-Roll Call

WASHINGTON — The bill that senior House Republicans introduced this month to prohibit federal officials from pressuring social media companies to censor speech has some experts worried it could hamstring government efforts to combat online content that’s widely perceived as harmful, including threats to public safety.

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Yellen tours wildlife reserve to start South Africa visit
Author: MOGOMOTSI MAGOME, Associated Press

HAMMANSKRAAL, South Africa (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen used a tour of a wildlife park in South Africa on Wednesday to announce a joint initiative to combat wildlife trafficking and related criminal activities in both countries.

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